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16 Common Questions about Matcha

Nicholas Noble | February 16, 2020

Matcha is rising in popularity! It’s trending into every age group and most every country. Now that it has left the shores of Japan, more people are asking what makes it different from regular green tea, or how they can begin incorporating it into their day.

This special type of green tea has a superior versatility. With a couple good pointers, you’ll be on your way to preparing (and enjoying) it in no time! Below is a list of the biggest questions you may be wondering. 

DOES MATCHA TASTE LIKE GRASS

Premium matcha tea can have a sweet, grassy (or earthy) flavor. People often describe it with some type of vegetal taste, mixed with an umami, or savory effect on the palate. 

If you have a great quality, then it shouldn’t require any added sweetener. But if you’re stuck with a bitter, lower grade, then it may be wise using sweetener to bring out as much of that grassy taste as possible. Then you can invest in a truly premium quality of this unique tea. 

Side note: Make sure that you’re drinking 100% stone-ground matcha tea, without any added ingredients. That way you know exactly the taste and quality of the actual powder. Otherwise, you won’t have the greatest context about identifying quality, or learning to appreciate this ancient tea.

HOW DO YOU DRINK MATCHA POWDER

You can choose between the traditional accessories to prepare matcha, or you can use a modern take. Whatever you decide, a rule of thumb is to first, sift 1-2tsp of matcha into a mixing cup or bowl.

Add 4oz of hot water for every 1tsp, but make sure it’s not boiling since that can burn the tea. You’ll then use a whisk or electric frother to dissolve the tea and mix until frothy. Traditionally you would sip and enjoy now, plain, but at this time you can add milk for a latte if you so choose. 

Matcha is fun to prepare and versatile whether at work or home. You can have different tools or use mixing bowls that work for you. As long as you’re able to enjoy the flavor and benefit from the health properties.

As you prepare it more, you’ll also find your preference of ratio of tea to water, so feel free to experiment until it feels right. 

HOW DO YOU MAKE MATCHA TASTE BETTER

Here’s a simple recipe to enjoy matcha as part of a delicious smoothie. Once you’ve selected a premium quality matcha powder, follow these simple steps:

  1. In your mixing container, add 1 cup of room temperature water.
  2. Open your tin of matcha and scoop 1tsp. Drop it into the water.
  3. Quarter 1 frozen banana for easy blending, and add.
  4. Add 1tsp of chia or hemp seeds (or both) to taste.
  5. For added nootropic energy, add 1-2tsp of organic MCT oil. (optional)
  6. Blend, and enjoy!

This is one, simple recipe that anyone can easily follow. You’re also free to adjust to taste or add your preference of fruit and other additives. And makes for a very creamy, subtly sweet and superbly earthy recipe. What’s your favorite?

Side Note: Remember, avoid cow’s milk if you’re drinking matcha for health benefits. That’s because of the protein content; the casein protein in cow's milk has been proven to inhibit the antioxidants in matcha.

HOW MUCH MATCHA POWDER DO I USE

This is one of the most common FAQs about matcha, especially for beginners. Different sources will recommend a range of serving sizes, and the bottom line is that it depends on your individual goals. Here we review some examples.

From a nutritional perspective, it’s recommended to enjoy up to 1-2 bowls of matcha tea everyday. The serving size for each bowl is usually 1tsp of matcha powder. If you’re heavy handed, you can always use an actual measuring teaspoon.

In traditional settings, recommendations may rise above 5 cups per day. Japanese Tea Ceremony is often with larger doses for each serving, and this may be where that figure comes from. It’s also studied the synergy of L-theanine and caffeine in matcha powder means you can drink it later in the day, without affecting sleep. 

The average person is somewhere between 1-3 servings per day, or 3-4tsp. But our simple recommendation is 1-2 servings per day. 

True or False: You need the same amount of caffeine with matcha tea as coffee?

False! The caffeine is chemically different in matcha tea so you need less total caffeine. If you’re escaping coffee, then you don’t entirely have to choose daily servings based on caffeine content. Read more here.

SHOULD YOU KEEP MATCHA IN THE FRIDGE

Actually, it’s best to keep it in the freezer, not the fridge. But any cold, dark space will help preserve this delicate form of tea. Exposure to heat and air will quickly degrade the color and health benefits.

Choose an airtight container to keep it in the freezer, or the next coldest place available. And open the container to serve yourself, and quickly close it. By limiting the exposure to air, light, and heat, you can preserve matcha for a couple extra months.

But even this method isn’t foolproof. The only way to ensure you aren’t losing any of your premium matcha tea to the elements, is to drink it within 1-2 months. Suddenly thirsty? Browse our Starter Sets.

WHAT DO YOU PUT MATCHA POWDER IN

We always say matcha is incredibly versatile. You can put it in a plain drink, or you can make it into cookies, muffins, cakes or other desserts. Bear in mind the choice of quality is a big factor related to what you’ll be putting it in.

The fine size of the matcha particulates give it an uncanny miscibility. It blends delightfully into any batters, gourmet desserts, or luxury lattes. Try something new today!

HOW TO STORE MATCHA POWDER

Besides keeping your matcha tea in a cold and dark place, there’s other things to remember. The biggest one is what type of container you’re using. You want to use something with an airtight lid, and solid material that light cannot penetrate. And remember to use it within 1-2 months.

WHAT DOES MATCHA DO FOR YOU

Matcha green tea is the finest quality of the Camellia sinensis plant. Like other green teas, it contains high levels of antioxidants and amino acids, but it’s not that simple. Let’s see what the important differences are.

Matcha is popular above other types of tea because of the traditional cultivation. The way it’s grown tells the plant to create more of the compounds researchers boast for health. These include catechins, polyphenols, and popularly EGCG and L-theanine. 

Matcha tea is nature’s most concentrated source of these molecules. And studies have linked them as potentially preventative of diabetes, heart diseases, and certain types of cancers. It’s also a greater alternative to coffee because of elevated nutritional content and benefits for the brain, even weight-loss. You can read more about the health benefits here.

WHAT DOES MATCHA TASTE LIKE

Matcha should have minimal bitterness, with more prominent vegetal and umami notes (more about flavors here). If this isn’t your experience (especially if the color was not vibrant green), then you had imitation matcha.

Sorry, but you’ll need to give it another chance after doing some more research. Don’t trust your local cafe or popular coffee house for the right information. More often than not, these brick and mortar locations are storing their matcha incorrectly. Many are also taking advantage of the surge of interest, serving cheap (or fake) matcha at the costs of the ultra premium grades. Not good. 

If you’re unsure where to start, our recommendation is to work backwards. Begin with a quality brand and their best quality you can afford. Follow our guidelines for evaluating color, and then prepare it correctly. 

If the cost is too high for a sustainable daily drink, then order the next quality down. Repeat this process until you find a great balance of cost, flavor, and calming effects. You won’t regret it!

Option 2: You can take our Matcha Quiz to find the perfect matcha to start with. We’ve specially designed the simple questions to help you understand where you fit into the expansive world of matcha. Take the Matcha Quiz here

DO YOU ADD MILK TO MATCHA TEA

You might add cows milk or non-dairy milk to other types of tea without a second thought, but matcha is different. Explore the things you need to consider before making a decision here.

Experts in the field of matcha recommend against the use of cows milk unless strictly for preference of flavor. And even still, only every now and then. Otherwise you’re going without those renowned properties of longevity.

The dichotomy of adding milk to tea, between Europe (which adds milk) and Asia (which rarely does) is arguably the explanation of diminished results of long-life. Studies evaluating the lifespan of both populaces found people in Asia live longer, one reason was because of drinking tea plain.

But since there are so many alternative milk options on the market now, like non-dairy nut milks, and even oat-milks, the choice is in your hands. These are perfect options if you’re thinking about adding some extra flavor to your tea.

Tea-masters still regard plain drinking for the highest benefits, but if added milk helps you drink this healthy tea, then so be it!

SWEETENER TO MATCHA

Depending on your preference, and the quality of your matcha tea, you may need to add sweetener to it. Matcha also helps control glucose response, so it may give you more flexibility to enjoy it while getting its health benefits.

If you choose to use sweetener, we recommend a low-glycemic alternative to regular cane-sugar. Examples are agave syrup, natural honey, or a moderate amount of alternative sweeteners/sugar alcohols like erythritol. As you learn to appreciate the best quality tea, you’ll probably need the sweetener less and less though.

You can also learn more about the dangers of excessive sugar in the diet with our report.

IS IT OK TO DRINK MATCHA EVERYDAY

Based on the safe daily dose of caffeine, anyone should be able to enjoy up to 5 bowls of matcha per day. Five regular servings should be plenty to keep you alert, while getting those calming benefits of L-theanine.

Traditional consumption in Japan may also be up to 5 cups per day, but the average recommendation is 1-2 servings per day. If you’re trying to get off coffee, then you may start with more daily servings. You can learn more exciting ways to use matcha with this article.

If you’re only looking for a boost of healthy nutrition each day, then starting with 1-2 servings should be fine. But experts agree that consistency matters as well. If you’re new to matcha, plan to give it 2-3 months of daily drinking before deciding whether it works or not for your body. More about long-term benefits here.

If you do change the amount of matcha you drink, you can expect less of those pesky caffeine withdrawal symptoms that you might have with coffee.

WHAT IS IN A MATCHA LATTE

To prepare a matcha latte, you can think along the same lines as any regular coffee latte. But keep in mind, premium matcha isn’t as naturally bitter as coffee. It’s more subtle so you’ll need less milk, sugar, or other additives. 

If your primary goal is make it easier to drink each day, then aim for as little additives as it takes in order to maintain the rest of the health benefits. If you’re switching from sugary energy drinks (more good reasons here), give your palate time to adjust to less sweetener too.

Soon enough you’ll love the taste, even plain!

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO DRINK MATCHA TEA

Skip the ‘Cup of Joe’ in the morning and drink matcha tea instead. You can also take it to-go for work, or the gym. The appropriate caffeine content means it works safely throughout the day without interfering with sleep.

Also, if you need help unwinding from work, try drinking a bowl when you get home. The amino-acids will help relax your muscles and your mind. It may even give you that ‘second-wind’ to squeeze in some exercise after a long day. 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE MATCHA

You don’t have to start with the tedious, ceremonial preparation. Instead you can keep it simple with an electric frother and a regular drinking mug by adding 1tsp for every 3-4oz of hot (not boiling) water.

Slurp through the froth as you begin to feel its calming qualities. And feel free to have another serving as soon as you feel the need for an extra kick. Compared to coffee, it has less caffeine so you may need more if you’re making that switch. It’s up to you.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT MATCHA

Historical records give a sense of matcha green tea’s health benefits. But only in recent years has science given us an explanation. Most striking, leading doctors point out that matcha has up to 137x the levels of antioxidants than a regular cup of green tea.

Good quality matcha is rare, but it confers a superior amount of amino-acids which protect the brain and fuel our cells. Tea-masters carefully blend and process the leaves into a powder that mixes with hot water. In that way, it’s the only tea of it’s kind where you consume the entire leaf. Matcha, literally meaning “powdered tea.”

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